looking for ghosts: 2007
when the moon hangs brightly, bone-white
my grandpa slides the glass door wide. wind
in chimes—wind in chimes—we sneak outside
to look for ghosts. now don’t be fooled, he whispers,
them ghosts are good at hiding. then, he lowers
his lips and blows—his whistle a rope pulled
tighter, taut—four fingers on my shoulder,
white. he lost his fifth inside a foxhole.
we gotta outsmart ’em now. let’s go long.
i nod—the back gate groans—opens
to a field of ticking—ribbons in me turn
to knots, i drop, my knees scraping earth,
its pulsing—breathing—then i see it—
a bird. the head slacked. the eyes gone
black like marbles. grandpa, is it—?
and then his eyes went distant, like he ate
a sad song, like blue was pooling in him.
he takes a cigarette, lights the head on fire.
mhm, dead. looks like someone nabbed the sucker.
—the cricketing louder.
my grandpa’s embers burning brighter, brighter.
Natalie Ezelle is an MFA student at San Diego State University. When she isn't writing, she's teaching K-8 students, tutoring, and dancing to any music she can find. Her previous poems can be found in issues of The Catalyst.